Rush Limbaugh has a penchant for putting his finger on the driving forces and central themes in contemporary American politics.
And once again he’s nailed it.
I’m speaking of Mr. Limbaugh’s repeated assertions of late that the Democrat Party has suffered a series of setbacks because they simply lack positive ideas on how to improve the lives of Americans.
Instead, the Democrats have become the anti-party – being against anything proposed or advanced by President Bush or any other Republican politicians. It doesn’t matter whether the dateline is Washington, D.C., or rural America – the party of Roosevelt and Kennedy has devolved into the anti-everything antics of the radical Left.
Thus far the lack of new ideas or willingness to work for progress has hurt the Democrats at the polls. Many pundits however, have questioned whether this is a lasting trend, or if they will reverse their fortunes in the 2006 elections.
The first indication we might get on the 2006 vote could come next week in the behemoth of “blue states” – California.
On Tuesday, voters in the Golden State will go to the polls to cast their ballots on a series of measures that comprise a special election called by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“The Terminator” came into power in the historic 2003 election that recalled Gray Davis – an election I helped make possible through my work with Howard Kaloogian on the Recall Gray Davis Committee. Never before had Californians recalled a statewide official, and for that matter nor had any other state since 1921 in North Dakota.
In the California recall election, voters were furious with Gov. Davis for his mismanagement of the state’s affairs and wanted someone to come into office to take action and clean things up. They wanted leadership.
Schwarzenegger was the action hero voters trusted to get the job done, and the newly elected Gov. Schwarzenegger pledged to deliver by making radical reforms. The headline’s from Schwarzenegger’s State of the State address said it all: He was going to “blow up the boxes.”
Reality has dealt Schwarzenegger a cruel blow in the first half of his term. The moderate-to-liberal Republican governor has been met with vociferous opposition from the Democrats in the state Legislature to his reform proposals. Despite their pledges to work with the bipartisan Schwarzenegger administration, Democrats instead played hardball.
The Democrats weren’t interested in cleaning up the state as much as they were cleaning the Republican governor’s clock – politically at least.
Thus, the reason Schwarzenegger was forced to turn to the voters and California’s initiative process: to get done the job the bureaucrats in the Democrat-controlled legislature refused to do.
But Schwarzenegger’s proposals have been scaled back considerably as the Democrats have launched political and legal challenges to each proposed initiative.
The measures that have survived for Tuesday’s special election ballot are for the most part limited in their scope and impact. If passed, they will be a step forward for this state – but a baby step.
What’s so amazing, then, is to watch as even the most mild and mainstream reform efforts have been vigorously opposed by the Democrats and their allies here in the state.
They would sooner destroy their own state than see a Republican governor achieve even modest political success. Apparently believing that the political and legal challenges they have launched against Schwarzenegger’s reform agenda were not enough, the Democrats have now resorted to violence.
At a campaign event in Southern California, Democrat activists and union leaders whipped a crowd into a frenzy to attack a lone female Schwarzenegger supporter. The mob surrounded the woman, screaming at her. The security detail for the event joined in the fray, ripping the woman’s ‘Vote YES on Reforms’ signs. The crowed continued to assault the woman, ripping her hat off, pushing her around and beating her over the head with their own “VOTE NO” signs.
On the stage, egging on the crowd, stood the Democrat Speaker of the State Assembly Fabian Nunez.
This is the nature of the Democrat Party today.
Whether its Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid, whose office told off an Air Force veteran because he supported the war against terrorism; or the Democrats who block the appointment of conservative judges; or activists who beat up women – is it any wonder Americans have voted them out of office?
The question before us is whether or not this trend away from the Democrats will provide enough of a boost to California’s Schwarzenegger to overcome the edge in voter registration that Democrats enjoy in California.
For the sake of our country, and for the sake of putting progress ahead of partisan warfare, let’s hope so.